Our goal is to provide safe, courteous, and reliable transportation to all our clients with challenges that restrict their ability to use the regular fixed route bus system.
All riders will be responsible for the scheduling, cancellation, and payment of their own trips. Even if two individuals are from the same household and are approved for para-transit service on their own merits, each are responsible for their own trips. We ask that you have your fare ready for each leg of your trip. The driver who first transports you will not accept a round-trip fare. Each leg of the trip must be paid for separately. Riders must be waiting at the sidewalk or at another safe waiting area in front or as close as possible to the entrance of a pick up location. Bus operators will wait for a rider for five minutes at the curb of a public street in front or as close as possible to the rider’s house, building or other designated pick up location. Please verify exactly where to wait for the van when scheduling your ride. The scheduler will advise the safest pick up place for you to wait. Para-Transit is a curb-to- curb shared ride program, which does not advocate unsafe practices, such as backing up into traffic.
We ask that you show your Para-Transit ID card to the driver. Please check to make sure your ID card is current. Cards are issued for periods of 3 years.
The Columbia Para-Transit Service complements, and is tied directly to, our fixed route operations.
Columbia Transit’s Para-transit is in compliance with the American Disabilities Act and its definitions. This service area is defined as, the area within 3/4 of a mile from any point on all regular City bus routes. Periodic or commuter routes such as the yellow route are specifically excluded from this criteria. The area outside the 3/4 mile span, but within the city limits is serviced on a space available basis. Reservations within the 3/4 mile area may be made up to 14 days in advance. Because the Para-Transit system complements the fixed route system, service is provided only from curb-to-curb.
The fare for Para-Transit is $2 per ride. A companion may also travel for $2 per ride. Personal Care Attendants ride free, but must be 18 years of age and fill out an application to be registered as a Personal Care Attendant with the CT Para-Transit system.
Reservations are made on a first come, first serve basis. All reservations must be made by Transit Service schedulers, only. Drivers are not allowed to take or cancel reservations. To schedule or cancel a ride:
We provide next day service. We try to get our clients to their destinations within one hour plus or minus of their requested time. Calls after 5:00 p.m. cannot be scheduled for the next day.
Reservations are accepted up to 14 days in advance, except in areas outside the ADA service area. They are space available and must be made the day prior to the request. Trips may be denied due to unanticipated circumstances such as bad weather, traffic problems, and vehicle breakdowns. Messages left on the voice mail on Saturday and Sunday will be reviewed on Monday for Tuesday if space is available. Please call early to reserve your trip, whenever possible.
Note: For next day service, we have expanded the scheduling operating hours to 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the day prior to the requested ride. This is due to the tremendous increase of required service requests.
Para-transit services in the Columbia community are in a constant state of high demand. The driver is allowed to wait no longer than 5 minutes once they reach the pick up location. If the driver has not arrived within 20 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, you may call 874-7290 to check on the status of your trip. If a rider fails to appear, the driver will be instructed to proceed to their next customer pick up. This will be recorded as a client “no-show.”
A pattern of three “no-shows” within a rolling 30 day period will result in the suspension of service, unless the “no-show” can be demonstrated to be due to circumstances beyond the control of the client.
Please refer to chart below for consequences.
The client will be notified in writing before any suspension is imposed. Any suspension of service may be appealed by contacting the Columbia Transit within 30 days of notification. It is the client’s responsibility to make contact with Columbia Transit to offer any explanation of a “no-show.” If the client has other scheduled trips in the same day of the “no-show” and the client has not canceled these trips, the driver will come for the next scheduled pick up. If the client fails to appear for the remaining scheduled rides, a “no-show” will accrue for each ride. Please call and cancel all rides.
If an client is suspended for two 30 day periods, within a rolling twelve-month window, the Para-Transit Supervisor will refer the case to the Transportation Manager for further adjudication.
In no case will any validated emergency result in a recorded “no-show.” An emergency is defined as any occurrence that is beyond the clients control. In any case please notify the Para-Transit staff at 874-6290 or 874-7524 as soon as possible.
Calls canceling reservations are to be made at a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the scheduled pickup time to allow schedulers to reschedule the time slot, except in emergency situations. If the appointment is canceled 24 hours in advance or in the instance of an emergency, that cancellation will not be considered a documented “cancellation.” If a patron needs to make a cancellation after the normal Transit Service Office duty hours, please call 573-874-7290 and leave a message.
You will be allowed 10 documented cancellations in a 30 day rolling period before you receive a written warning. Each leg of your trip is counted as one cancellation for reporting purposes.
Please refer to chart below for consequences.
Written notice will be provided prior to any suspensions and all suspensions may be appealed to the Para-Transit Supervisor.
Cancellations made less than one hour before the scheduled pickup time are also considered a “no-show” and are subject to the same penalties described above under no-shows. Every effort should be made to make sure cancellations are made in a timely manner, to ensure that this service remains available to those who need it.
Please note the cancellation policy. Too many clients are blocking slots and causing denied service to other clients by waiting until the last minute to cancel their trips. Drivers are not allowed to call in cancellations.
Columbia Transit/Paratransit patrons are prohibited from verbally or physically abusing other passengers, bus operators, or transit staff.
If after a patron is reinstated following a suspension there is a 4th occurrence, the patron is suspended for 6 months. The next occurrence will warrant a review from the Transportation Manager and possible suspension of one full year. After each incident, the Paratransit Supervisor will conduct an investigation and make a recommendation as to whether the incident be counted as an “occurrence” or not. The results of the investigation will be reviewed by the Transportation Supervisor for final decision.
For the Columbia Transit Para-Transit Service there are no policies or practices that will restrict the number of trips provided to an individual during any period of time. All trips, no matter what the purpose, are eligible. There are no restrictions on the number of trips per customer in a given time period and no priority is given to any particular trip type. No waiting list or standby list will be maintained.